Brum Trail: The Winter in the City Trail

Ideal for: people who love both breakfast and board games

Avoid if: you're a bad loser

Bring // Youll need: your woollies

Terrain: high ropes and high stakes

The start: Bar Opus, Snowhill

Nothing takes the winter chill away quite like a hearty brunch. Bar Opus do a swish version with a choice of either trendy bar plates to share or a menu of classic dishes such as the New York Bagel, steak and eggs and, of course, a good old English - all delivered in the swanky surroundings of this popular Business District bar. Their Saturday brunch comes complete with drinks upgrades - why not indulge in unlimited Bloody Marys for a mere £12.50? Yet another compelling reason to travel by bus...

One Snowhill, city centre

Brunch served on Saturdays from 10.00am

www.baropus.co.uk

The middle bit: Sandwell Valley Country Park, West Bromwich

This time of year may feel a bit grim, but it throws up the opportunity for crisp, sun drenched walks to put a smile back on your freezing face. The largest national nature reserve in the Midlands, Sandwell Valley has it all. Its 660 acres are home to an RSPB reserve, a working Victorian Farm complete with tea rooms, a cycle route, woodland, meadows, open countryside and some nice lakes to boot. There's even a high ropes aerial adventure course, for those feeling brave after all those Bloody Marys.

Salter's Lane, West Bromwich - just a few miles out from the city centre

The 74 and 75 bus routes stop a few minutes walk from Bar Opus at Colmore Circus, and take you into the centre of West Bromwich.

The Valley is a ten-minute walk from West Bromwich centre.

The end: The Queen's Arms, Jewellery Quarter

This comfy, Grade II listed proper boozer is the perfect place to kick back with a pint of cask ale and fall out with loved ones, as you take advantage of the pub's generous selection of board games. They're barmy for sausages here, and the rest of the food offering isn't bad either - comfort guaranteed. If you're seriously into your games there's a very popular quiz night here, every Thursday.

150 Newhall Street

If you're travelling back from West Bromwich on the bus, alight at Water Street - Newhall Street is a stones throw away

www.queensarmsbar.co.uk

Open every day from midday, 11.00am on weekends

Tips: You can mix and match your choice of sausages at The Queens, and you get three - go for it!

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Words by Gemma Corden – writer, unashamedly banging on about Birmingham. Contact via @gemma_corden or find out more about her here or even more here.

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Birmingham Trail: The Rediscover Your City Trail

Ideal for: proud Brummies and curious in-laws

Avoid if: you can't stand the Birmingham accent

Bring // Youll need: to prepare your brain for information overload

Terrain: top decks and sheds

The start: The Big Brum Open Top Buz Sightseeing Tour

Yep, bus with a z - because that's just how we like to pronounce it in this neck of the woods. And what understatedly fascinating woods they are. This most charming of bus tours guides passengers beyond the usual 'more canals than Venice' mantra and takes us off the beaten track, picking up the Tolkien trail in leafy Edgbaston and exploring the urban glamour of East Side alongside the perennially popular Jewellery Quarter and the Golden Mile (yes, apparently we have one). Jam-packed with interesting facts that will surprise even the most veteran of Brummies, this memorable tour will uncover Birmingham as you've never seen it before. Warts and all.

Tours depart from the Council House, Victoria Square at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30 on Saturdays and Sundays

£12 for an adult ticket, concession and group tickets available. Here's the website.

The middle bit: Birmingham: its people, its history - Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Steel yourselves for more facts! This brilliant (and massive) exhibition is a great deal more interesting than it may sound on paper. Innovative displays, films and interactives tell the story of Birmingham in chronological order - travelling right back in time to the city's medieval beginnings, journeying through the grandeur and squalor of Victorian Birmingham and uncovering the role the city played in the two world wars. It really is an epic tale - expect to be chilled, disgusted, moved and, ultimately, very proud.

Chamberlain Square, city centre

Open 10.00 - 17.00 (Fridays 10.30-17.00)

Free admission. More on the website

The end: Music and Ale Night - The Two Towers Brewery

Where better to bore people to tears with your newfound facts than over a locally brewed ale down at the pub...or industrial estate. The Two Towers Brewery has been providing Birmingham and beyond with delicious and brilliantly-named craft beers since 2009 (a half of Complete Muppetry, anyone?). They currently operate from the rather incongruous setting of a Hockley industrial unit, but don't let that put you off. The site has the feel of someone's garden shed - cosy, charming and welcoming, just like the hosts. Get down to one of their lively Music and Ale Nights and expect to leave with your Brummie pride well and truly in tact.

Unit 1 Mott Street Industrial Estate, Hockley

Approximately a 20-minute walk from BM&AG

Check the website for events listings - typically, Music Night takes place on Fridays 20.00 - 23.00 at a cost of £5 entry including four halves of ale

Tips:

Be sure to wrap up for The Big Brum Buz...it gets windy

Check out the BM&AG's Edwardian Tea Rooms for what must be the biggest pot of tea available in Birmingham

Done this Trail? Please rate it! Email or Tweet us.

Challenge Gemma to a Brum for…? Trail: Got a theme or unsuspecting audience in mind? Make your challenge!

Words by Gemma Corden – writer, unashamedly banging on about Birmingham. Contact via @gemma_corden or find out more about her here or even more here.

#BrumTrail

Birmingham Trail: The Spooky Trail

Birmingham is a brilliant city. It caters for the most diverse of tastes and softens the stoniest of cynics. There really is something for everyone. Our resident trail finder, Gemma Corden, is here to prove it. Challenge her if you dare.

The Spooky Trail

Ideal for: Goths

Avoid if: Your friends tell you your 'sensitive'

Bring // Youll need: A Proton Pack and Ecto-Goggles

Terrain: Involves graveyard loitering and an overnight stay (...not in the graveyard)

The start: Ghost Walk/s

It's Friday night, what better to do than head to the nearest dead people? Midlands Discovery Tours run a Graveyard Ghost Walk, taking in four different graveyards in one night (if that's what you're into) and includes a trip to the infamous catacombs in the Jewellery Quarter. Yikes. There's also the Birmingham Sinister City Walk, which takes you on an alternative tour through the heart of the Victorian city. Plague! Execution! Yay! The best bit is when you visit a haunted pub at the end. More info: Midlands Discovery Tours

City centre

Graveyard Ghost Walk - 7.00pm first Friday of the month Feb to Dec

Sinister City Ghost Walk - 7.00pm third Friday of the month Jan to Oct

The middle bit: Depending on the time of year you've got three truly terrifying options here, all of which happen annually:

In July you can get that gore-soaked horror itch well and truly scratched when The Electric Cinema's Shock and Gore Festival comes alive. There are horror and fantasy films old and new alongside live scores, Q&As and a legendary all-nighter. Expect controversy and spine tingles. More info: Shock and Gore

You find yourself out and about in the city centre one August weekend. Something isn't quite right. Ah yes, that's it - ZOMBIES! Everywhere!! But don't panic - all this carnage raises money for Birmingham's Children's Hospital (and clearly, what those kiddies are going through is the scariest thing on this list). Fake blood at the ready! http://www.birminghamzombies.com

If you're one of those people for whom fancy dress is not a painful experience, and becoming a zombie has merely whet your appetite, then get yourself on the Big Brum Buz in October for their Halloween Ghost Bus Tour. Take in the darker side of Birmingham from the open top roof (make sure to wrap up warm!) of this old bus, driven by a very shady character indeed. Expect an amalgamation of the two walks introduced above, only with less walking... More info: Birmingham Tours

The end: The Tunnel Club

Why not round the adventure off with some frighteningly cheap spirits at this atmospheric rock metal club, housed under a railway arch. Warning: there will be a lot of Metallica t shirts.

Livery Street, City Centre B3 1HL The Tunnel Club Every Saturday night, 10pm-4am

Tips: If you can't get enough of the haunted stuff then you might want to spend a night at The Station Hotel, Dudley. Your classic murdered-servant-girl-shoved-in-a-barrel stories abound. Head to room 214... More info: The Station Hotel

Done this Trail? Please rate it! Email or Tweet us.

Challenge Gemma to a Brum for…? Trail: Got a theme or unsuspecting audience in mind? Make your challenge!

Words by Gemma Corden – writer, unashamedly banging on about Birmingham. Contact via @gemma_corden or find out more about her here or even more here.

#BrumTrail

Birmingham Trail: Get Your Skates On Challenge

Birmingham is a brilliant city. It caters for the most diverse of tastes and softens the stoniest of cynics. There really is something for everyone. Our resident trail finder, Gemma Corden, is here to prove it. Challenge her if you dare.

The Get Your Skates On Trail

Ideal for: petrol heads and wannabe Torvils or Deans

Avoid if: you're really boring

Bring // Youll need: a sense of humour. Leave your pride at home

Terrain: tracks and bones...yes, bones

The start: Roller Disco at The Tower Ballroom

If, like me, you'll always have a place in your heart for Pontins holiday camps then the Tower Ballroom should offer a welcome slice of nostalgia. This mad old place overlooking the gorgeous Edgbaston Reservoir began life as a roller skating rink before transforming into a ballroom. Aptly, they now hold a Roller Disco twice a month. Expect 70s and 80s cheese and hair-raising bathroom trips in this mildly terrifying night out. www.thetowerbirmingham.co.uk

Reservoir Road, Edgbaston

1st and 3rd Friday of every month 8pm-1am. £15 (or £10 if you bring your own skates)

The number 80 bus stops nearby (a 7-minute walk), boarding at Smallbrook Queensway in the city centre and alighting at Osler Street. You'll need a taxi on the way back.

The middle bit: Go Karting at Teamsport, Oldbury

After a character building night on the skates you should be feeling suitably brave come Saturday morning, and with 1000 metres of track and 13 corners (unlucky for some) Teamsport indoor go karting is the perfect hangover cure.

Get up in the race-wear provided (the best bit) and channel your inner Sebastian Vettel in petrol karts on a multi-level track that includes a rather daunting flyover. There's a spectator area for the speed-averse and a bar in which to build some Dutch courage. Book in advance. www.team-sport.co.uk

Unit 7-10 Park Lane Industrial Estate, Oldbury

The nearest train station is Langley Green -15 mins from Birmingham Moor Street station.

The end: Le Monde Fish Restaurant

Like being in a market only much, MUCH posher, this place has a fish counter to die for. Take your time to peruse and, in light of this trail's theme, I heartily recommend the skate... A word of warning, all fish dishes are served a la plancha (cooked on a griddle to you and I) and the result if pesky fish bones. You might want to take them up on their offer of filleting the whole fish for you at the table. For the especially brave, they're big on oysters here. www.le-mondebirmingham.co.uk

Brindley Place, city centre. Approximately a 20-min walk from Moor Street station

Tips:

If your skate-legs are a little dusty, Birmingham Wheels Roller Speed Club do roller skating lessons on Saturdays.

Lunch at Le Monde is a great deal at £12.50 for two courses.

Done this Trail? Please rate it! Email or Tweet us.

Challenge Gemma to a Brum for...? Trail: Got a theme or unsuspecting audience in mind? Make your challenge!

Words by Gemma Corden - writer, unashamedly banging on about Birmingham. Contact via @gemma_corden or find out more about her here or even more here.

#BrumTrail

Photos kindly supplied by the venues.

The Birmingham Trail: Sweet Tooth Trail Challenge

Birmingham is a brilliant city. It caters for the most diverse of tastes and softens the stoniest of cynics. There really is something for everyone. Our resident trail finder, Gemma Corden, is here to prove it. Challenge her if you dare.

The Sweet Tooth Trail

Ideal for: sugar addicts and old fairground enthusiasts (that must be a thing)

Avoid if: you’re a dentist-phobe

Bring // Youll need: a bus / train ticket. And Listerine.

Terrain: there will be (sugar) highs and lows

The start: The Black Country Living Museum

‘Why are we trekking out to Dudley?’ your companions may rightly ask. ‘I thought we’d be going to Cadbury World?’ It’s simple – Cadbury World doesn’t have the Brooklyn Cakewalk. Possibly the best fairground ride known to man - certainly the most underrated - the concept is deliciously simple and so much harder (and more fun) than it sounds. You have to walk from one end of a gangway to another...only the whole thing is furiously rattling. Nothing beats watching your Dad attempting to walk the plank, vibrating like he's been plugged into the mains. You'll be buzzing afterwards. Literally. Those Victorians knew how to let loose (the ride dates back to 1910).

Tipton Road, Dudley DY1 4SQ

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Take the train from Birmingham New Street Station (or, when it sheds its caterpillar status, Grand Central...) to Tipton. One mile walk to the museum.

The middle bit: Chitty’s Cake Classes – The Custard Factory, Digbeth

Who doesn't love sugarcraft? It seems as though we just can't get enough of cupcakes these days, luckily Chitty's Cakes are on hand to ensure our bakes don't disappoint. They have a teaching studio in, appropriately, the Custard Factory where they offer a whole host of classes in baking and decoration, all of which are suitable for beginners. There are short classes on a Saturday afternoon - best get practising as The Bake Off gets into full swing...

Studio 417-418, Scott House, Custard Factory B9 4AA

Classes run throughout the week

The Custard Factory is a short-ish walk (approx 15 mins) from New Street Station.

The end: The Jekyll and Hyde

You’ll probably never want to set eyes on icing again again. Time for a stiff drink – why not slump from your sugar comedown in a darkened room, fortified by a cocktail from the Jekyll and Hyde's Confectionary Corner. Lemon Bon Bon, anyone? Strawberry Laces? Make mine a Jelly Babies.

28 Steelhouse Lane, City Centre B4 6BJ

Open Mon - Sun, til late

The pub is another short-ish walk (20 mins) from the Custard Factory

Tips:

While you’re in the Custard Factory it’s worth stopping by McTunneys Sweet Emporium. There’s 40 different lollipop flavours. Yes – 40.

Done this Trail? Please rate it! Email or Tweet us.

Challenge Gemma to a Brum for...? Trail: Got a theme or unsuspecting audience in mind? Make your challenge.

Words by Gemma Corden - writer, unashamedly banging on about Birmingham. Contact via @gemma_corden or find out more about her here or even more here.

#BrumTrail

Photos kindly supplied by the venues.